For weeks the WWE has been hyping the arrival of someone on the January 2nd edition of RAW. Speculation across the internet focused on Chris Jericho, and that proved to be a valid assumption.

Now the speculation turns to the character’s intentions, specifically headed into WrestleMania, and as you can see from the video below, we don’t have much information directly.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLi9CVi7Ld8

Speculation about his motives may be a bit premature, but we’ll talk about that in our wrestling round table discussions later this week. As for now, let’s look at what Jericho’s return means for the WWE.

It’s safe to assume he’ll be a part of the RAW roster. He’s instantly one of the top 5 names in the company – arguably more popular and a better name recognition than anyone currently holding a championship – and WWE puts all of their top stars on the RAW roster.

WrestleMania just got a huge surge to its growing card. Unless Chris Jericho is going to somehow be inserted into the Rock vs John Cena feud, which is doubtful, or if his presence means that Stone Cold Steve Austin isn’t going to be working the show, Jericho being part of WrestleMania takes an already exciting pay per view and just adds to the reasons to buy it. There had been some rumors of Stone Cold coming back for a match with CM Punk, with or without the championship involved, but competing rumors stated that Jericho was the probable opponent for Punk.

A Punk vs Austin match would be a huge ratings draw, and while Jericho vs Punk might have a better work rate due to Austin’s physical limitations, it’s arguably a lesser match from a star power perspective. There are both short-term and long-term implications from having Jericho involved in the match, however, as Jericho will likely be in attendance for every RAW between now and WrestleMania and for the foreseeable future following the event. Austin would likely not be an every-week fixture on RAW leading up to the event, and his involvement on the show following the flagship pay per view is highly doubtful.

You can expect The Miz to be moved over to Smackdown full time now. It started last week when “someone” told him to show up there and it resulted in an in-ring rant, an open challenge, and then a beatdown at the hands of Sheamus and R-Truth. It may have continued on RAW, but that’s because they’re currently running the Super RAW format whereby all of the guys from both shows are able to be on the prime brand.

Alberto Del Rio could potentially see himself getting shipped over to Smackdown as well, though there are no readily available signs of that happening to which I can point at this time. Were he to stay on RAW, he would undoubtedly be in the shadow of Chris Jericho and not have as much impact, especially given the rise of Dolph Ziggler into the main event.

Don’t expect him to win the Royal Rumble. Jericho already has main event level credibility, making it pointless for him to win the yearly event. He will find a different means to “punch his ticket” for WrestleMania, regardless of whether he works his way into a World Championship match or not.